Homelessness falls 11 percent to 32,000
The group of homeless people in the Netherlands shrank for the second year in a row in 2021. In the years before, their number increased. Researchers from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) especially noticed a decline in young homeless people aged 18 to 27.
On January 1 this year, 32,000 Netherlands residents aged 18 to 65 were homeless, compared to over 36,000 in 2020. That is 11 percent fewer people spending their nights on the street, at a homeless shelter, or with family or friends. In the years before that, a rising trend had been going on for a long time. In 2009, about 18,000 people had no permanent residence. That peaked at 39,000 in 2018. In 2020, an evident decline was visible for the first time in years.
The statisticians do not know whether this decrease already started in 2019 because they received insufficient data for that year. CBS hopes to receive that data in the future.
In the past five years, the group of young homeless people between 18 and 27 shrank considerably. In 2016 they made up 35 percent of people without their own bed, and in 2021 that almost halved to 18 percent. The percentage of homeless people between the ages of 27 and 50 increased.
Homeless people are relatively often found in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. The vast majority are male. It is also striking that almost two-thirds of the homeless have an ethically diverse background.
CBS pointed out that the figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional and may be slightly adjusted if the statisticians receive additional information later.
Valente, the sector association for social care, questions the decline. "The shelter practice shows a different picture: the shelter is overcrowded and single people and families for whom there is no place knock on the door every day. The decrease in the number of homeless young people reported by CBS is also not visible in practice," the association responded.
According to the association, many invisible homeless people in the Netherlands are not included in the estimates. These include adults and young people who temporarily leave home due to tension or domestic violence. Older people over 65 are not included in the CBS figures. This also applies to children under the age of 18 whose parents become homeless. Valente reports that social care sheltered 1,650 underage children with their parent in 2020.
Reporting by ANP